Adventures in 3D Printing

Maybe "adventures" is too hopeful...

Yes, it's ANOTHER Smore from Caitlin in Ketchikan! (Spring 2016.)
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Getting a printer

We have an expensive printer in our Voc Ed wing, but I don't ever go down there, so I thought I'd find a cheap one that I could play with in the library. Er... that my STUDENTS could experiment with in the library.

I wrote a grant with our local Delta Kappa Gamma organization. They give out small $200-500 grants each year. I was awarded $400. I was able to find a Da Vinci Jr., plus buy extra rolls of filament.

My choice:

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Then what happened?

To be honest, not much! I made a few attempts to figure it out, but mostly unsuccessful. The filament wouldn't stick to the printing bed. Youtube solved that one. Next was finding more objects to print. That one stumped me a bit more - Ketchikan hosted the 2017 Annual Conference of the Alaska Library Association. Need I say more??


Finally, in the spring, a fellow teacher with an interest in the printer came down with a few kids and started messing with it. She figured out how to save new projects and send them to the printer. NOW we were getting somewhere! One student even made a bookmark for me that said "Kayhi Library"!!
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A STEM workshop through the Craig School District in June did the trick! I learned about a few design sites, and got to play a little more. Supervised instruction was KEY! I also attended a workshop in Chicago at ALA Annual Conference. A bit more practice... I feel like this fall I can actually make something happen with my students. Happy dance!
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Update: November 2017

We are really making progress now! We had the printer on our front counter during parent-teacher conferences, and it got some attention. The printer remained out front for a few weeks, and we had staff and students asking to use it.

I have since unplugged it and am waiting for new front desk computers. Our current workstations are too old to run the printer software. Once the computers are here, we'll hook the printer directly to the PC, and students will be encouraged to do their own tinkering!

A student request - snow wheels for a RC truck.
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A design from one of the math teachers.

Helpful Design Sites:

About me

I am a school librarian in Ketchikan, Alaska.